When you've got a full schedule, there are more than enough excuses to skip your workout. Getting motivated is not an easy thing to do. How can you make yourself get up and go? Try these tips from Prevention!
Obstacle: You're too tired.
Make a date: Set up a standing appointment with a friend whose fitness level matches yours—your mutual motivation lulls will cancel each other out. Research shows that having a dedicated workout partner makes you more likely to stick with an exercise program.
Have a snack: When you run low on fuel, the extra energy demands of exercise lead your body to decide, "She's overdoing it—we need to conserve some fuel by slowing down her metabolism," says Michele Olson, PhD, professor of health and human performance at Auburn University in Montgomery, AL. That's the last thing you want, so have a protein-and-complex-carbohydrate snack, like a hard-boiled egg and a slice of whole wheat toast, 2 hours before you plan to work out.
Put your shoes on: Think baby steps: If you truly don't feel like you can get out the door, just put on your workout clothes. If that feels good, throw on some sneakers. Even if you stay in the house, the clothes will give you an increased range of motion, so you'll probably put more energy into your chores.
Pump more iron: As a mineral that helps convert food to energy, iron is essential to keeping energy levels high. But dieting, avoiding meat, and having heavy menstrual periods can put you at risk for low iron. Iron supplements are sometimes risky, so make sure your diet includes 18 mg of iron every day—choose lean meats or legumes, leafy greens, and whole grains. Don't forget citrus fruit and other juice with vitamin C, which improves iron absorption from plant foods.
Fuel up early: Eating the bulk of your calories in the early part of the day will give you the energy you need to make it through daytime workouts. Many women on weight loss plans find it easier to eat less during the day and more at night—exactly the opposite plan for optimal energy and weight loss. Click here for some delicious breakfast ideas.
Wet your whistle: Dehydration can seriously drag your energy down. Research shows that even when you drink eight glasses of water a day, 45 minutes of exercise can put you into a dehydrated state. Don't rely on thirst as a measure of need—to prevent exercise fatigue, take a sip of water every 15 to 20 minutes while you work out.
Obstacle: You're bored with the same old routine.
Make it fun: "Try to link exercise with happiness, social activity, and escape," suggests Peg Jordan, PhD, RN, author of The Fitness Instinct. "Free yourself up to think of movement as your birthright every hour on the hour." Join an African dance class, or try inline skating. Instead of dreading sweat, think of it as calories pleasantly leaking from your body.
Pile on the rewards: Women tend to save rewards for distant, huge goals, like a 20-pound weight loss or three lost dress sizes, says Howard Rankin, PhD, psychological advisor to the national Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) organization in Hilton Head, SC. Rather than make goals destination-oriented, make them behavior-oriented. Set a goal to work out three times this week, and when you achieve it, give yourself a nonfood reward, like a glossy magazine or new nail polish—little indulgences you wouldn't ordinarily give yourself.
Want to get more tips on staying motivated? Check out the original story on Prevention.